undaunted · undeterred

A tale of a battle won

Image from europeisnotdead.com

If you love tales of won battles. If you relish learning that despite multiple stumbling blocks, one came out victorious, then this is a story for you.

On the 6th of August I was unfairly excluded from the possibility of obtaining a teaching post in my home province on the basis that I am British and that the UK is no longer a member of the EU. From this day onwards, my family and I have literally lived a nightmare as not only am I a permanent resident, having all the qualifications from Spanish universities and years of teaching experience, but nobody, not even the labour unions, were willing to defend my rights. – It’s pretty ironical to see that one of these unions celebrates equality and the right to work on their website however, it seems that this does not apply to British citizens that hold a legal resident status and have settled on the island. How two-faced can you get!

But if I could hand out an award, for the worst possible blunder of all, it would, without any doubt go to the Consellería d’Educació. This organisation, misinterpreted an official document and twisted language to their own convenience, and even blamed a BOE for my exclusion, the result being that on the 6th of August they launched a resolution that made no sense whatsoever as belonging to the teachers’ list is NOT a ‘PROCÉS SELECTIU’. This brings me to my most sincere apologies to the Government of Spain for taking it out on them as they had absolutely nothing to do with this problem.

A person from the Conselleria, told me that the facts of: being a legal resident, in a stable relationship with a Spanish guy, mother to two Spanish boys, and having worked as a teacher was quite irrelevant. I was British and that was the end of that! He even went so far as to say that this situation would remain the same until Boris Johnson signed an agreement with Spain, recognising Spanish workers’ rights in the UK. I mean, I’ve always been against the whole Brexit idea, and Boris Johnson is definitely not my cup of tea, but what’s this got to do with me? What could I do? Grab a loudhailer and celebrate a very English tea party in Plaza España? Really and truly! Mr X …., I chose to live and settle in this country and will not put up with somebody stripping me of basic rights, pointing an accusing finger and expecting me to take the blame for every single mess the Brits make, will make or made in the past. ( I got over the stage of whipping myself for being British when I studied the history of the British people way back when I took my five-year degree in English philology). So this brings me to the next extra point the Consellería would get in the award for Complete Blunder, which spelt in capital letters would read PREJUDICE or/and DISCRIMINATION.

And finally, I’d like to mention the point the Conselleria would get for “assistance”. Well, we all know that Spain is famous for its red tape system and I never expected the Conselleria to adopt a bosom-friend policy with me, but not even responding a complaint is going a little too far. What do these people do all day? They must be so busy if they cannot even, after four months find the time to answer a complaint, especially one as decisive as not being able to continue working. Honestly, am I asking for too much? Am I being difficult and picky of maybe even, very British?

So adding up all the points awarded to the Consellería so far, we get : 1st for misinterpretation of an official document. 1st for using language to justify an unfair resolution. 1st for prejudice. 1st for neglecting assistance. Now that’s a whole lot of points! Could I add anymore? Yes, certainly.

Fortunately for me and my ‘paisanos’, The European Commission came to the rescue and clearly spelt out what arduous negotiations had established as laws, not only for Brits in Europe, but also for Europeans in the UK. (I may consider sending the document to the two labour unions, so as to avoid any other person having to grapple through darkness for months and months). The result is that we are back on the list and in the future, will be eligible candidates for teaching posts. This may not be the liking of some of my colleagues (the ones that started this whole business in the first place), that consider that Brits should not be allowed to work, but if we are to be just and to find ourselves in a position of claiming reciprocity, we have to accept it.

I now find myself in a situation where I can only possibly get a post for covering a sickness leave, when I should have actually been working since September, But don’t get me wrong, after almost five months of anxiety, stress, sleepless nights and worry, I finally see the light and my mind will find some peace. Whatever may happen from now on will probably be the cause behind another very boring post on this blog. Which finally brings me to an apology for rambling on, but I just had to get it out. I have the pestering habit of expressing my concerns and feelings towards unfair situations and contrary to what many perceive as a problem, I’m not afraid of doing so, even when the thing or person that is in the wrong, is an organisation in power. What’s more, I strongly believe that this is a necessary practice if we wish to keep a healthy democratic system.

undaunted · undeterred

A teacher will always be a teacher

A teacher will always be a teacher, despite all the odds against her. This is true for me as on August 6, the very same day that teachers were to be assigned a teaching post in the Balearic Islands, I was denied the possibility to continue my teaching career in Spain. This came in the form of a law that was aimed to make it impossible for British teachers to continue getting posts in public schools in the Balearic Islands and I ignore if this has been the case in all the autonomies of Spain.

This ban is a direct consequence of Brexit, and I must admit that it came as a shock, as not only have I been living in Spain for nearly three decades, but all my qualifications are from Spanish universities. Apparently, there is nothing I can do about it, as teacher labour unions go along with the policy in a tone within the lines of ‘like it or lump it mate!’

I could rant and rave at the government for passing such an unfair law, for using teachers as a scapegoat and applying a mean blackmail strategy to improve the relationship between the United Kingdom and Spain, but I can’t be bothered, and prefer to focus all my energy in another direction, reinventing myself. I’m not saying that I have been stopped in my tracks, what I’m actually saying is that this situation will come as an opportunity to better myself, as the saying goes ‘what doesn’t kill you, makes you strong.’

So here I am. The government of Spain has taken away classrooms, students and salary. The government has wiped away, in the blink of an eye, the years I have devoted to my career. However, what the government cannot take away, is my passion for teaching. The government of Spain said, ‘You’re no longer a language teacher at the EOI.’ (Official Language School), which is basically true, but the government doesn’t seem to be aware that a teacher who loves her job, will teach anyway, be this at the EOI, at secondary or in a virtual environment. What the government also fails to acknowledge is, that there is no such thing as placing boundaries to teaching and learning in the Digital Era, and that people like me have the tendency to grab opportunities with both hands, and continue with their life, despite having all the odds stacked against them.

This blog, will continue and will even improve in due time, so you can bet your last dollar, that you’ll be seeing me around with some very good stuff. Just let me take a breath and get back on my feet, and I’ll be back.

A big hug to all the people that throughout these years, have visited my blog, over 60 thousand visitors, can’t be wrong!



Thank you EVER SO much!

One of our lovely FFP2 masks

Thank you ever so much educational authorities of Spain for your consideration towards the safety of EOI teachers of Majorca in times of COVID-19. As I can see that you have considered that teachers that remain in classes for four hours a day, (plus extra time within the premises), with a maximum of 19 students, are not at risk, and therefore, are not in the need of vaccination against COVID-19. Thank you ever so much, for finally reaching the decision of providing us with a batch of FFP2 masks. That was such a kind gesture on your behalf! Some of us now feel much safer doing those things that teachers usually do such as: communicate with students, move around the classroom hither and thither, pick up assignments, hand out assignments, correct assignments, and stuff of the kind that form the multiple everyday activities of a teacher (not to mention that we now clean all the furniture and make sure the classroom is well ventilated).

I personally think it would have been a wiser decision to have allowed teachers to decide for themselves on the issue of whether they want to be vaccinated or not, depending on their own particular situation, but I suppose you reached your decision after a very hard and difficult debate, bearing in mind all the facts. By the way, a 90 per cent of us share a secondary school with secondary students and teachers and therefore, do NOT work in an isolated building as one of your spokespersons mistakenly claimed during an interview. It goes without saying, that it would be really nice if you could check this info.